Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Hey Mom! Just thought I'd let you know that my Visa has arrived :). President Vellinga called me last night right before I went to bed and said that all three of us Brazil Visa waiters had received them. So, all three of us will be flying down on Monday the 18th. It's a long flight :/. We leave Cleveland at 4:00 P.M. and arrive in Brazil at 6:15 A.M. on the 19th. I'm not sure if I'll be able to call or not. I think I will, but we'll see. I just do what they tell me. There are certainly a lot of emotions mixing, but I'm mostly excited. I definitely felt comfortable here, and would have been happy to serve here for the full two years. It's a great mission, and I love all of the people I've met. I'm excited to start my mission in Brazil :) I know that wherever I go is where the Lord wants me. He's the Master and He's in charge. I'm so grateful to be a part of his work and will gladly labor in whatever part of the vineyard he wants me to. I love you and all the family! I should be in touch again within the next week, but I never know.
Love you to the moon and back, Elder Barker.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Man, sounds like an exciting weekend! It brought back a lot of memories and emotions, I can't believe it has already been a year since I was playing. I'm proud to be a Red Devil! I'm so happy for my team mates and for Roy and Fess. Sounds like they did awesome! I'm so proud of all of them. There's a little bit of magic going on with Evanston right now. And Gizmo did awesome too! That's sweet that she beat Laramie, I remember watching them lose to Laramie in Cheyenne at the beginning of the season. Goes to show that Pre-season and even regular season games aren't about wins and losses, it's about getting better. I'm Stoked for everyone! I wish I could have been there! Anything can happen at the State Tournament. March Madness is the best. I'm looking forward to watching Jess in a couple of years, he better be working hard.
Can you believe I've already been out three months? It's ridiculous. I've been in Sandusky for a month already and it feels like it's been a week. Time is flying.
Well Kyle David (Shaggy) comitted to baptism in April. We're really excited for him. He quit drinking and is still working on giving up the smoking. He can do it though, he's really trying. We have some other investigators who have been making great progress too! Panzie Hunter is a single mother of 5 kids, and she's doing great. It's just really hard to get an appointment with her, because she's so busy, but she's really solid. I love her family. There's a really cool family here called the Villareals. They basically make up half of the town of Sandusky. There's only a couple of them that are really active, so we see someone from that family almost everyday. I love them so much. The grand parents had like 9 kids and each of their kids have like 10 kids so it's crazy. I am barely starting to get all their names straight. The kids are so funny and they all love the 'Elders'. One of the little girls' name is Melayna, she's three and always says that she loves me :). She's almost as cute as Zo.
The weather is starting to warm up, it's really nice. The lake is mostly thawed out by now and all the dead fish float up on the shores. It adds to the 'Sandusky Stench' a little bit, but you can only smell it sometimes. The Glass family are members that joined the church almost 20 years ago and they fed us Perch this last week. He fishes a lot, so he makes SO much of it and tries to make us eat it all. He breads it and deep fries it and it's super good, but he makes like 10 pounds of it for five people, it's ridiculous. They're great people.
Yesterday was ward conference and we talked a lot about Family History. I'm sure you all have talked about the same letter from the first presidency, but the church really wants us to be doing temple work for our own families. It will really bless your life and people on the other side of the veil, so I encourage you to start doing it. It's pretty easy to get started, just a matter of doing it, so I think it would be a good FHE activity for a while.
I tried to send pictures so let me know if it works. I love you all. I'm learning a lot everyday in my studies. I know that Christ is our Redeemer and I love him. The worth of all souls is great in the sight of God. He loves all of his children. I can testify that he will never leave us comfortless. Joseph B. Wirthin said, “The Lord will never forsake or abandon anyone. You may abandon him, but he will not abandon you. You never need to feel that you are alone.” I promise that's true.
Love, Elder Barker
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
How are all of you doing? Life's Good. We're so blessed. I'm doing well in Sandusky, Ohio. It's transfer week, but I'm not going anywhere. All of my District is staying put. I have a few more pictures, but I don't have an SD card reader, so next time I will ;). Ohio is pretty neat. It's really flat and there are a lot of trees, so it will be cool when the leaves come back, because apparantly it's really green. Milan, Ohio is in my area and it has the birthplace of Thomas Edison. They have a little museum thing so that's cool. The house from A Christmas Story is also in my mission, it's in Cleveland. This area is all called the Firelands because I guess in like 1812 a lot of property got burned up back East so they set aside this area for all the people that had to leave their homes. They don't have Fry Sauce here, so that's kind of a bummer. I was surprised, apparently it hasn't spread to Ohio yet. A bunch of the people in Seminary wrote me letters this last week. It was really fun to hear from them, and I loved reading their testimonies. It was a good pick-me-up and meant a lot to me. So Happy Birthday to all the birthdays recently. Grandma and Grandpa Barker and April Stacia? Hope that's right... Well anyway tell them all that I love them and Happy Birthday! Basketball sounds exciting. I love March Madness so much, it's going to be a little bit tough for me to miss it haha. Congrats to Kenzee on making it to State. I'm proud of her. I knew she'd make it. She's going to do awesome this weekend too, I know it! Good Luck to her and the boys team! They will represent Evanston well. Isaac emailed me. He's doing awesome in Panama, I'm happy for him. I got word that a sister from my old zone got her Visa, so that's exciting.
We have a few investigators that are really progressing! We don't have any baptismal dates, but we're really close. We met some really great people this week, so we're excited. One guy's name is Kyle David. He's 37 and he really likes to have us over. Imagine Shaggy from Scooby-doo and that's what he's like. He's been baptized into a different church so we had a good lesson about the Priesthood. He also has doubts about why the Book of Mormon is necessary, so we're going to talk to him about that next time and hopefully help him gain a testimony of it. He quit drinking since the last time we met with him, so for about a week and a half. He's making great progress with quitting smoking too. It's amazing that I've already seen a change in him since he's started trying to live the Word of Wisdom. He's really close to getting a baptismal date.
We're setting up a Kirtland trip for our investigators. It's going to be awesome. I'm really excited to go. We're really fortunate to have such cool history in our mission. There is a lot I have learned about the Church history and I want you all to look more into it too!
Well love you all. If there's anything you could send me, some pictures would be nice and maybe some music just like on a CD or something. Maybe like some of the Vocal Point stuff or something. As long as it is uplifting and gospel related, it's okay.
The Church is true. Jesus Christ lives. He is at the head of this Church and he loves every one of us.
Love, Elder Barker